Keyword Ranking Strategy to Increase your Rank in Google

There are many techniques on how to get higher ranking in Google. However, be careful because what is still effective in other search engines can cause your site to get penalized in Google .

Age of a Website

One of the strongest factors in a ranking strategy is the age of the domain so it's really hard for new websites to rank for anything when their competitors have older websites. However, following some of the ranking tips below may help.

Which Keywords to Target?

showing keywords for multiple tables in css
(click to view larger image)

The most highly praised keywords will also have the most competition for ranking. Targeting less popular keywords, or 3-4 keyword phrases, also called "long-tail keywords", can help you gain ranking until your site gains enough links and age to compete for the shorter phrases.

The keywords you want to rank for may not be the words that people are actually using. To find out which words people are using set up a webmaster account on Google's Search Console. Click on "open report" then activate "Total Clicks" and "Average Position". Now look at the list of words below. They will be arranged by which words resulted in the most clicks to your website. You can also click on "position" to see which of your words rank the highest in Google.

To filter the words, so you can focus on the topic of a particular page, click on the down arrow on the right and enter the chosen keyword (see image). Scan through the list of phrases that are the most relevant for your page (I searched for "table" so it would bring up words people were using to find my css tips on setting up tables in html".) You may be able to use some of these phrases as alternate words on the page or in header tags which will help the page to be more relevant to the search terms (which also helps ranking). These keyword phrases may change often but this is a good strategy to give you an idea of other keyword phrases you can target.

Keyword Density

keyword density
The "old"
keyword density

Keyword density used to be the quickest and easiest way to increase keyword ranking in Google but since 2012 it can cause a penalty for over-optimization. Since Google set up the Latent Semantic Indexing algorithm, you need to use your main keywords cautiously and then focus more on different words with similar meanings. Today there are many other factors that increase ranking. A good ranking strategy is to check the density of your competitor's keywords and keep yours at a similar rate. See more information on how Google uses Semantics

Where to Put your Main Keywords

Putting your most important keywords at the front of the Title Tag of the page, is probably the most important strategy that affects your ranking. Placing them in a header 1 tag, in a couple image alt tags, and repeated in the text of the page a few times should be enough to increase your ranking in Google.

Use your main keywords in the content of several other relevant pages and set them up as the anchor text in internal links to the page you want to rank for those words. Also try to get them in the anchor text of a few backlinks coming into your site. Any more than that may cause an over-optimization penalty by Panda in which case use your brand name or domain.

Remove Meta Keyword Tags

If your website has been on the Internet for a long time it may have keyword meta tags in the head of the document. That used to be where search engines would look to see which keywords you wanted to rank for, but now, it's no longer used and can result in a penalty instead, so remove it.

Fresh Content Improves Indexing

If you frequently update your pages, or add new pages, search engines will keep coming back for fresh content, unless your site is penalized. If your keywords are slipping in rank it often helps to add more text and/or images to those pages because Google likes in-depth articles. Google considers short pages with only a few paragraphs as "thin content" and will ignore them. In-depth articles keep people on your page longer which tells Google people like your site because they stayed longer, and especially if they clicked through to other pages.

One way to find content that might be missing from your web pages is check your traffic meter (I use Stat Counter). Whenever you find anyone has linked to one of your pages in a forum and they are discussing your page, check to see if they have comments or questions about things that you didn't cover on your page and go ahead and expand on that topic.

Indexing Problems Can Affect Your Ranking

Check out how Google or other search engines have indexed your website using this command in the search engine: (take out the www if you have set up a 301 redirect for the non-www version of your domain). Check to make sure all your pages are listed.

If Google shows the links in your navigation menu in search results, or other text that appears at the top of your page, instead of the description then it's likely that you either don't have text in the meta description tag or it's too short. Without relevant text in the description tag people aren't likely to click on your page when it appears in search results. There are also multiple factors that affect how long before keywords ranking increases in Google.

Local Keyword Ranking

If you are a local business, and don't want international ranking, then you need to submit your site to multiple local directories for your city and state and Google My Business page as well as Bing. Fill each one out completely and get people to review them.

Research Competitor's Keywords

It also helps to research your competitors to see what they are using for their keywords. However, if they are sticking multiple repeated keywords in their image alt tags, comment tags, and other places besides on the text of their page and or coloring multiple uses of keywords in the same color as the background of the page (hidden text), then it's best to ignore them because many search engines are banning sites for those keyword spamming tricks.

User Experience (UX) vs Bounce Rate

In the last few years Google has started considering User Experience as an important ranking factor. When visitors come to your page and stay awhile then Google thinks that visitor is having a good experience while on your site. If they come to your page and then leave quickly Google considers this a "bounce". A very high bounce rate can cause Google to consider your site doesn't provide a very good user experience. Internal links to other pages using relevant keywords can help your ranking considerably.

To increase chances people will stay longer another ranking strategy is to provide links in the first few paragraphs to other relavant pages on your site using the main keywords of the other page in the anchor text of the link. This will provide them with relevant information if the content of the page they are on isn't what they were looking for. Providing videos for them to watch while on the page and a lot of images or other interesting information may also encourage them to stay longer which also helps your keyword ranking.

Social Media Likes and Shares are Important

Google also considers social networking as an important keyword ranking factor. If you set up one or more social networking sites and post messages about your business, or interests, and link back to your pages occasionally, it will encourage people to visit your site. The more you do this, the more likely people will "like" or share the post. If they follow the link to your website and check out several pages it will help even more because it shows Google that people like your site (a good UX, i.e., a good User Experience).

Keywords in Backlinks

Of course, having other quality relevant websites link to your pages is a good way to increase ranking in Google but some sites are able to rank well just by providing good content.

Follow Google's Guidelines

The most important step to increase ranking in Google is to be in compliance with Goggle's Webmaster Guidelines or you can be hit by a penalty with one of it's algorithms like Penguin Penalty for over-optimized backlinks.

Also see Technology that Prevents good Keyword Ranking.

When The Strategies above Don't Help ranking

If none of the above has helped then your site may have more serious problems, in which case you might benefit from a SEO Analysis Report:

order an In-Depth SEO Analysis Report

or call Lori at 509-397-6000 for more information.

Lori Eldridge
Copyright © 2007, Updated 2-24-19
All rights reserved.

Technology that Blocks Search Engines
Dynamic vs Static Pages
Keyword Strategy
Optimize the Title Tag
How to Get Good Backlinks
Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google

Return to Search Engine Optimization Tips